Thank you Abrams Planetarium!

Photo courtesy of Abrams Planetarium.

Abrams Planetarium has been entertaining and educating audiences for more than 50 years. From school field trips to midday relaxation hours, this MSU destination never fails to delight its visitors. Abrams Planetarium uses its state-of-the-art Digistar projector not only for incredible astronomical shows, but also family shows, the homecoming Spartan Spectacular, ambient mood settings and much more.

The planetarium goes the extra mile to serve faculty and staff at MSU.  In partnership with Health4U, it hosts Relaxing Under the Stars, The Healing Power of Guided Imagery and the monthly live concert series Rest with Music. All events occur from noon to 1 p.m. on weekdays for employees to unwind in the middle of their workdays.

Thank you, Abrams Planetarium, for going to astronomical heights to serve the MSU community!

Reminder: Upcoming university holidays

Red Cedar River in winter.
Snow-covered Red Cedar River. Photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.

It might not look like it outside, but the winter holidays are coming up! The university will be closed on the following days:

  • Thursday, December 24
  • Friday, December 25
  • Thursday, December 31
  • Friday, January 1

We hope you take this time to relax, eat delicious food and spend time with loved ones! As the year comes to a close, we would like to thank everyone for all of their continued work in making MSU an outstanding university. Let’s make 2016 even better!

From everyone at MSU Human Resources, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

New Performance Excellence Program Starts in January 2016

MSU_PE_Brand2On behalf of Michigan State University, MSU Human Resources has launched Performance Excellence, the new performance management program that will replace the current Performance Development Program. If MSU is to continue to be a leading research university, talented staff who are continually developing their skills to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world are needed.

Performance Excellence includes the following three important stages:

  • Performance Planning and Goal Setting
  • Continuous Feedback, Coaching and Development
  • Annual Performance Review

Employees will move to the Performance Excellence program in 2016.

There are two key items to note during the transition from the old process to the new process:

  1. Performance Excellence will have new forms to aid in this process. For annual reviews that are due between January 1, through June 30, 2016, supervisors and staff will use the new Annual Review form with the current rating system (which is included on the PDF form). On July 1, the rating system will change to four performance levels and the Annual Review form will reflect those changes for reviews due from July 1 forward.
  2. Beginning in January, after an Annual Review form is completed, supervisors and staff must also complete the Performance Planning form, either on the same day as the review, or within 30 days of the review.

All support staff and those who supervise support staff need to complete an online class on Performance Excellence. The class will be available in mid-January and will be accessed through elevateU. MSU HR will announce when the class is available.

For detailed information about the Performance Excellence process, additional learning opportunities, forms, tools for employees and supervisors, and much more, please visit the Performance Excellence website.

If you have questions regarding rollout of the program in your area, contact your college or division-level HR representative.

Travel safely this winter

A Snow-covered bridge. Photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.
A snow-covered bridge. Photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.

It’s easy to forget the trials of winter transportation after months of clear roads. Here are a few safety tips for getting around in the cold and snow.


  • Drive slowly and leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Anticipate extra time needed for scraping ice and snow off your vehicle and/or slower driving.
  • Always have at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle.
  • Leave with warm clothes. If you get in an accident or your vehicle gets stuck, you will need to spend some time outside.
  • Don’t warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud.

Read more driving tips from AAA and all about snow removal at MSU.Continue Reading… Travel safely this winter

Health Matters: Knee and hip replacement

HipKneeReplacement_Standard-smallJoint replacement surgery has become very common in the United States, with surgeons replacing more than a million hips and knees each year with very high success rates. Nine out of 10 people who get a hip or knee replacement have significantly reduced pain and increased mobility.

Who is a candidate for replacement surgery?

Although joint replacement is usually needed later in life, anyone who experiences chronic joint pain or reduced mobility in the knees or hips is a candidate for replacement surgery (depending on a variety of other factors). Surgeons will look for signs of osteoarthritis or joint degeneration, the most common forms of arthritis, as the starting point for a plan of treatment.Continue Reading… Health Matters: Knee and hip replacement

‘Tis the season … for phishing, credit card skimming, and email offers that are too good to be true

The holiday season is a boom for hackers, phishers and scammers. Phishing is a form of fraud in which the attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in email, IM or other communication channels. One of the most common ways to send malicious software to your computer or steal account information is through email. You should be wary of emails that are from unknown sources or that you were not expecting. Never open an attachment from these sources.

A safe way to look at emails that are in question is to drag them to your junk email folder which disables links and attachments and allows you to read the content of the actual email safely.

You should also be wary of emails that do the following:

  • Example of a phishing email
    An example of a phishing email, disguised as an official email from a fictional bank.

    Promote amazing deals on the hottest gifts. If it looks too good to be true, it is!

  • State that you need to confirm your credit card number on an online order.
  • Ask for any personal or banking information – no reputable company will ever ask you to email personal information.
  • Encourage you to follow a link to a login page to verify your account or fix a problem. Even if the URL looks real, it could be disguised that way. Hover over the link and look in the lower left corner of your screen to see the real URL. If you think it is legitimate, go directly to the company’s website and log in from there, or call the company.
  • Appear to be real messages from your bank or credit card company. Go directly to the website you use for online account management or contact them by phone.

You should monitor the statements for your bank accounts and credit cards closely, and contact your credit card company if you see unknown charges on your account.

If you know that you have received a phishing email, contact the company that the email is pretending to be from to bring their attention to the scam.

If shopping online, shop only with reputable companies and avoid shopping on unsecured Wi-Fi.  It may be convenient, but you might as well put your credit card number on a billboard.

The new chips in credit cards can be scanned from several feet away. RFID blocking wallets or card sleeves can help to protect your information.

Stay on the lookout this season to secure your money and your identity!

2015 MSU Holiday Arts & Crafts Show

Get something original and hand-crafted this season at the 52nd Michigan State University Holiday Arts & Crafts Show!

UAB arts and crafts pic-small

On Saturday, December 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Union will be filled with the work or more than 130 artisans from across the country. This event is one of two arts and crafts shows presented by the University Activities Board each year.

Some of the handmade items for sale include candles, furniture, jewelry, home and yard decor, aromatherapy, clothing, children’s toys, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture and much more! You’ll be sure to find the perfect decoration or gift with such a variety of specially crafted items, and attending the event supports the UAB and the artists.

Make sure to check out the abundance of family-friendly activities just north in downtown East Lansing at Winter Glow!  The free event is Saturday, December 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. and features ice carving, a winter barnyard, horse and carriage rides, a special outdoor holiday farmer’s market, a heated music tent, carolers, games and much more.

Remember that parking at MSU is free on weekends, too!

Find out more about the holiday craft show here.

Events Round-Up December 2015

Here are some events happening over the next month that may be of interest to MSU faculty and staff. Please visit the links for more information. Many events require registration.

Community Events

Daily through December 20

River City Holiday MRKT, noon – 7 p.m., Lansing

Thursdays and Sundays through Sunday, December 27

Wonderland of Lights, 5–8 p.m., Potter Park Zoo 

Saturday, December 5

Winter Glow, 2–5 p.m., downtown East Lansing 

Old Town Scrooge Scramble 5K Run/Walk, 10 a.m.–noon, Old Town

Saturday, December 5 – Sunday, December 6

MSU Holiday Arts and Crafts Show, times vary, MSU Union

Saturday, December 12

Breakfast with Santa, 10 a.m., The State Room Restaurant 

Sunday, December 13

Christmas in the Village, 2–4 p.m., Meridian Historical Village

Thursday, December 17 – Saturday, December 19

Cirque Dreams Holidaze, times vary, Wharton Center

Saturday, December 19

Cocoa + Classics, 3–5 p.m., Broad Art Museum

A  Jazzy Little Christmas, 8 p.m., MSU Auditorium

Development, Training and Wellness

Thursday, December 3

Boosting Team Performance, 8:30 a.m. – noon, 10 Nisbet 

Friday, December 4

D3.js for Interactive Data Visualization, noon – 3:15 p.m., Main Library 

Tuesday, December 8

Accounting in EBS, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., 10 Nisbet

Tai Chi Exercises at the Broad MSU, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Broad Art Museum

Navigating Business Intelligence, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., B110H Wells Hall

Academic Women’s Forum, 3:30 – 5 p.m., MSU Union 

Wednesday, December 9

Cascade Server Content Manager, 1 – 5 p.m., 210 Computer Center 

Thursday, December 10

New Supervisor Essentials, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., 10 Nisbet 

Relaxing Under the Stars, 12:10 – 12:50 p.m., Abrams Planetarium 

Tuesday, December 15

Creating Accessible PDF Documents, 1 – 5 p.m., 210 Computer Center